Phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase pathway mutations are common in breast columnar cell lesions

Megan L. Troxell, Alayne L. Brunner, Tanaya Neff, Andrea Warrick, Carol Beadling, Kelli Montgomery, Shirley Zhu, Christopher L. Corless, Robert B. West

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


The phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase pathway is one of the most commonly mutated pathways in invasive breast carcinoma, with PIK3CA mutations in 25% of invasive carcinomas, and AKT1 mutations in up to 5%. Ductal carcinoma in situ, and benign papillomas harbor similar mutations. However, activating point mutations in breast columnar cell lesions have been infrequently studied. Twenty-three breast resection specimens containing columnar cell lesions were identified; 14 with associated invasive carcinoma or carcinoma in situ. DNA extracts were prepared from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue and screened for a panel of point mutations (321 mutations in 30 genes) using a multiplex PCR panel with mass-spectroscopy readout. PIK3CA mutations were identified in 13/24 columnar cell lesions (54%) and 3/8 invasive carcinomas (37%). The mutation status of columnar cell lesions and associated carcinoma was frequently discordant. Of the 14 cases, only 5 demonstrated the same genotype in matched samples of columnar cell lesions and carcinoma (4 wild type, 1 PIK3CA H1047R). Interestingly, five patients had mutations in columnar cell lesions with wild-type carcinoma; two patients had different point mutations in columnar cell lesions and carcinoma. Only three cases had wild-type columnar cell lesion and mutated carcinoma. The 50% PIK3CA mutation prevalence in columnar cell lesions is greater than reported in most studies of invasive breast cancer. Further, columnar cell lesions and carcinoma were frequently discordant for PIK3CA/AKT1 mutation status. These findings raise interesting questions about the role of PIK3CA/AKT pathway in breast carcinogenesis, and the biologic/precursor potential of columnar cell lesions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)930-937
Number of pages8
JournalModern Pathology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2012


  • PIK3CA
  • breast cancer
  • columnar cell lesion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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